UK broadcaster ITV this morning announced it is rolling out addressable ads on a number of its linear channels: ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, and ITVBe. Addressable ads will be available in households with YouView-powered set-top boxes, providing a reach of 1.3 million UK homes according to ITV.
The new offering will enable full ad replacement within ad breaks on these channels, targeted using data from ITV’s registered user database. ITV says it has already trialled the technology over the last 12 months, during which 30 million addressable ads were deployed. Agency group Omnicom is signed up as a launch partner, with the offering going live this month. Addressable campaigns will be planned and managed exclusively through Planet V, ITV’s ad booking platform.
ITV has not indicated how much inventory across these channels will be available for ad-replacement. But the company says that today’s launch is “the first step in ITV’s rollout of addressable targeting in live linear viewing”, suggesting that the offering will expand over time. Whether that expansion will include deployment on ITV’s primary channel ITV1, home to the majority of ITV’s most valuable inventory, remains to be seen.
Ben Allen, ITV Commercial’s director of commercial strategy and trading, said that linear addressable advertising has been “a key objective” for the broadcaster, adding that it “materially enhances our addressable footprint and is an important milestone towards our target of enabling addressability across our entire output”.
Back to the future
Addressable advertising on ITV’s linear channels has been a long time coming. Sky’s linear addressable offering AdSmart has been running in the UK for years, but a deal to enable AdSmart on ITV’s channels never materialised. There has however been talk in the past of ITV creating its own product. Back in 2017, ITV announced it was working with Sorenson Media on an addressable ad offering for its linear channels, though a launch never materialised.
In the intervening period, consumer viewing via streaming services has grown substantially. As a result a number of broadcasters, ITV included, have focussed on enabling targeted ads via these services, putting linear addressable ads on the backburner.
But with its CTV ad offering now well established, ITV clearly sees value in refocusing on addressable linear.
Plenty of viewing still takes place on linear channels. Enabling targeting on linear channels can be particularly valuable for smaller channels or niche programming, which don’t have the same mass reach appeal as primetime content. And as advertisers and agencies get more familiar with ITV’s targeting capabilities on its CTV inventory, enabling addressable advertising on linear channels adds more scale and inventory to this product.
“Addressable TV, at the scale ITV is now offering, is enabling us to plan more sophisticated mass reach targeting strategies, enabling our clients to have more relevant and efficient customer engagement,” said Adam Turner, chief investment officer at Omnicom Media Group. “This is a game changing step forwards for the TV industry.”